Are you over sixty and tired of being told that you’re old and at risk of dying from the coronavirus?
OVER SIXTY AND O.K.
I’m over sixty, I’m healthy, and I’m following best practices for avoiding contamination: staying home, maintaining social distance, and practically scrubbing the skin off my knuckles.
ANOTHER TIME PEOPLE TOLD ME I WAS OLD
It all reminds me of when I was thirty-five and pregnant with my third child. I was sent for amniocentesis when a screening test came back wonky. Before the procedure, the geneticist who interviewed me asked, “Hadn’t you considered this screening on account of your maternal age?”
No, I hadn’t.
Next, the ultrasound technician asked, “Hadn’t you considered this test on account of your maternal age?’
No, I hadn’t.
When the radiologist asked, I snapped. “I didn’t feel old until three people in a row asked me that question!”
OVER SIXTY, HEALTHY AND WISE
Just because you’re over sixty doesn’t mean you are old. If you are lucky, you’re healthy; if you’re smart, you might also be wise.
And if you’re over sixty, you might also remember other national emergencies: Bay of Pigs, JFK’s assassination, and Republicans choosing Barry Goldwater to run for president. In our youth-oriented culture, you might also think that people over sixty are too old for new love.
None of it’s true.
And maybe you actually miss the electioneering brouhaha of the presidential race. Or maybe you’d like to read about a different race with a good outcome, like the Goldwater-Johnson face-off in 1964. That’s when dyed-in-the-wool Vermont Republicans couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Goldwater but still wanted to cast a vote. A couple of men solved the problem by establishing the Vermont Independent Party, with LBJ at the top of the ticket. Republicans who would rather die than vote Democratic cast enough Vermont Independent Party ballots to give LBJ a three-to-one win in the state.
LOOKING FOR SOMETHING TO READ?
And maybe just about now, when you’re beginning to see you’re going to be practicing social distancing for a while yet, you’re looking for a good book to read. I’d like to recommend a novel where the characters, who are in their mid-sixties and who have wildly opposite political opinions, figure out a way not just to tolerate one another, but to fall in love?
If so, you probably want to read Into the Wilderness, originally published in 2010 and still available electronically through Amazon, Apple Books and Google Books. When the book came out, The Vermont Library Association named it notable for its sense of place, and the Independent Publisher’s Association awarded it a Gold Medal for Regional Fiction.
WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY READERS
I’m currently writing a new book, and I can use all the encouragement I can garner. So if you do read Into the Wilderness and like even some small detail, please drop me a line and let me know. I feel wonderfully encouraged every time a reader of the novel or this blog tells me how my words have hit home.
And thank you.